Crash victim operated Ricardo & Sons Appliance Repair
by Julye Keeble, staff writer
Ricardo Castillo Sr. of Uvalde was known as an appliance repair man who helped many people around the area regardless of their ability to pay, so it’s no surprise that even in death he continues to give by donating his organs to save three lives.
Castillo, 64, died in San Antonio after a rollover wreck occurred Feb. 4 on U.S. Highway 83 North approximately five miles past Country Junction. The family says he was returning from a repair job in the Concan area.
He ran Ricardo & Sons Appliance Repair.
Though he was mostly retired, “If someone needed him, he would make an effort and go out there,” said his daughter Sonia Castillo Ochoa.
Ochoa describes her father as a kind man, someone honest and respectful of others. She said he helped many elderly customers and was quick to help those who could not afford to pay much, if at all, and always told customers if the cost of the repair would exceed the cost of purchasing a new appliance.
The wreck was not the family’s first brush with tragedy, as on Aug. 29, 2016, the family lost their home of 20 years to a fire.
Three fire trucks and about 20 Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department firefighters arrived at the East Leona Street residence to help fight the fire, but the house, including the tools Castillo used to operate his business, was a total loss.
Castillo and his wife, Melba, counted themselves lucky at the time to have each other. Ochoa says she remembers remarking to her parents at the time that at least everyone was safe and no funerals had to be planned.
Castillo’s large family had been saving money for a family reunion but instead donated the savings, as well as their labor, to rebuilding the home.
“It was a family reunion of sorts, as everyone came to help,” Ochoa said.
In December of 2016, Southwest Texas Junior College air conditioning and refrigeration instructor Richard Flores and his students presented Castillo with a Christmas gift of new tools for appliance repair.
Castillo served as a mentor to other repairmen, and was always willing to assist anyone with a difficult repair. “He would often work through dinner, working until the job was done for his customers,” Ochoa said.
She said when the hospital asked if the family was willing to donate his organs, her four brothers immediately agreed, and she was in favor of the idea to honor her father.
The hospital allowed them to film an honor walk to the surgical room where the organs were to be harvested, and the family added the song “My Old Man” by the Zac Brown Band, which they feel captures their father’s spirit.
Castillo was able to donate both kidneys and his liver. “Those donations saved three lives,” Ochoa said, adding it is what she feels her father would have wanted.
The family has opened a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses, at www.gofundme.com/f/richard-castillo-funeral-expenses. As of Wednesday morning, $1,610 had been raised of a goal of $5,000.
The family also held a burger plate sale on Saturday, which Ochoa said many people helped with and donated to.
A funeral service will be held today at 11 a.m. at the Chapel of Serenity at Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home of Uvalde. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.
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